WASHINGTON, D.C., December 29, 1998 —
The International Finance Corporation will invest up to US$1 million to
help establish a center to support entrepreneurship and small business
start-ups through the South African Business Incubator Center (SABIC).
SABIC is the result of a concept that was developed locally and will provide
small businesses with space, shared support services and access to business
development services, such as financing, marketing and management assistance.
By encouraging the creation and growth of small businesses, the project
will help to generate jobs and empower indigenous entrepreneurs, especially
those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The sponsor is Business Partners, a South African organization which has
developed several business incubator centers that group together small
businesses in traditional industries such as garment-making and light manufacturing,
metal works and carpentry. Business Partners has gained considerable
experience in developing specialist capacities in maintenance, on-site
management, administration, rent collection, and legal expertise.
Mr. Cesare Calari, Director of IFC's Sub-Saharan Africa Department said
that, by providing a supportive micro-environment and reducing the time
and expense necessary to establish their operation, SABIC will play a strong
role in helping new businesses grow and survive during the critical start-up
period when they are most vulnerable. IFC would like to replicate
the concept in other parts of Africa, he added. SABIC is IFC's first
investment in a business incubator center and follows extensive exploratory
and technical assistance work in Africa and Eastern Europe by IFC.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.